Time to Write Now By Julaina Kleist-Corwin

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William Faulkner Quote About Competing With Yourself




Nobel laureate William Faulkner believed it was impossible for an author to write a perfect story. He admitted he never was satisfied with his work. It always could be better.

In a 1956 interview with Faulkner in The Paris Review, he  said about being a novelist:

“Ninety-nine percent talent … ninety-nine percent discipline … ninety-nine percent work. He must never be satisfied with what he does. It never is as good as it can be done. Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

Rather than compare our work to accomplished, prize winning authors, competing with ourselves is more productive.  How can I make this piece better? Is this story better than the previous one I wrote?

I’ve won awards for several short stories, yet when I reread them, I cringe because I find ways I could revise them. Never being satisfied with our writing is a good thing according to Faulkner because we will continue to improve our craft.


Julaina Kleist-Corwin

#1 Amazon bestseller Captivate Audiences to Create Loyal Fans

Written Across the Genres

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  1. It’s part of the human psyche. Not sure if it’s good or bad for us. Good to stretch us, but perhaps not for being at peace with oneself.

  2. I guess it depends on what emotion one brings to stretching oneself. It can be a welcome challenge or a frustrating endeavor. I enjoy editing but it’s like housework…it’s never done.

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